VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A non-profit founded four years ago with a mission of providing emergency shelter and related services to children and teens in crisis is changing its name and changing its headquarters of operations.

Not long after sunrise Monday morning, contractors began scrapping the shingles off the former St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at the corner of Stoneshore Road and Holland Road in Oak Springs.

CEO Jennifer Sieracki says the church has been the temporary home for Seton Youth Shelters boy shelter for a little more than a year. In the future, it will be the home of the administration offices of Seton Youth Services.

The new name replaces the former beginning today.

“We are excited to move forward in the next phase of our organization’s history with a
name that reflects our evolution from a single girls’ residential shelter in 1985, to our two shelter residences, our 24-hour crisis hotline, and outreach, mentoring, and education programs,” Sieracki said. “We believe that this better describes what we do and is also very important to us. If you are a youth in crisis and you hear that it gives you the picture of what we do.”

Seton provides what they say is “lifesaving and life-changing” free services to children and teens four to 18 years old. More than 350,000 to date have been helped since its founding Sierracki said.

Shelter services include 24-hour shelter, food, clothing, educational assistance, counseling, and case management for youth ages nine up to 18.

Up until now, the boy’s shelter, girls’ shelter and administrative building have all been in different parts of Virginia Beach.

Now, a $6 million plan to build two new shelter buildings on the former St. Luke’s property is moving forward. The City of Virginia Beach is currently reviewing the plans.

Sierracki said most of the funding comes from the generosity of those living in Hampton Roads. She said their project is still roughly $700,000 short and anyone able can donate.

A rendering of what Seton Youth Services campus could look like after a $6M renovation (Courtesy: Seton Youth Services)

But many of their services involve work outside of their properties. A mobile counseling team travels a 400-square-mile area in Hampton Roads, providing comprehensive services for youth living on the streets and in high-risk neighborhoods. Their mentoring program matches children, ages four up to 18, especially those affected by the incarceration of a loved one, with a trained volunteer mentor.

Seton Youth Shelters is the only licensed National Safe Place organization in Southeastern Virginia, providing 24-hour crisis intervention services and access to immediate emergency shelter for any youth in crisis, including disconnected, runaway, homeless, trafficked or street youth.

“We thank the community and the Seton family for the success Seton Youth Shelters has seen for more than thirty years, and we eagerly expect to be able to assist more youth with our new name of Seton Youth Services,” Dr. Maxine Singleton, president of Seton’s Board of Directors, said.